Here, at Monochrome-Watches, we always loved the Arnold and Son UTTE (see our hands-on here) – and for several reasons. First, it is an extremely elegant watch. Second, it is complicated (long power reserve – tourbillon). Third, it is super slim. Finally, it is a real in-house watch. So, when at Baselworld, we’ve been introduced to its latest iteration, the Arnold and Son UTTE Skeleton, now with an open-worked movement, we’ve been pleasantly surprised. And the best piece of news is that it also happens to be the thinnest skeleton tourbillon on the market. Hands-on with a world record breaker – and a very nice watch.
In terms of slim watches, there’s always been a strong competition, whether we’re talking about the slimmest watch – a tittle held by Piaget (of course) with the Altiplano 900P with its 3.65mm thickness, till the recently introduced Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra-Thin Squelette measuring only 3.60mm (a watch that also happens to be a skeletonized one… impressive) – or wether we’re talking about the slimmest tourbillon – a title recently obtained by Bvlgari with the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon, a watch measuring only 5mm height. In this race, Arnold and Son never really fought with the same artillery. Its super-slim tourbillon, the UTTE – which stands for Ultra-Thin Tourbillon Escapement – measures 8.34mm thick, a dimension that remains however impressive and something that Arnold and Son shouldn’t be ashamed of. However, by making this watch skeletonized and by achieving to keep this same 8.34mm thinness, the Arnold and Son UTTE Skeleton becomes the thinnest skeleton tourbillon on the market.
This new Arnold and Son UTTE Skeleton remains rather close to the original one in terms of case and style. This “thinnest skeleton tourbillon” is housed in a 42mm case made in 18k red gold and the design and finish are the exact same as in the normal, non-skeletonized editions. The case is perfectly round, with a polished flat bezel and the central container tapers all the way long to the caseback, to visually enhance the thinness of the watch. The lugs are slim, short and curved, so the comfort is excellent and the watch feels slightly smaller on the wrist than the 42mm written on the specification sheet – which, to us, is a good point, as 42mm could be a bit too large for a watch intended to be dressy. Crown, strap and buckle remain the same too.
Changes are entirely located in the movement. In fact, we’re not only talking about removing some metal of the plates to make this watch skeletonized. The story is a bit more complicated and to go from the calibre A&S8200 of the “normal” UTTE to the calibre A&S8220 of the Arnold and Son UTTE Skeleton, several modifications were required. You have to take into account that a slim watch required to have a slim main-plate and a slim bridges, which of course affects rigidity. Then, removing material of these already slim bridges and plates also tend to make them even less strong. Thus, removing additional material to transform an ultra-thin tourbillon into an ultra-thin skeleton tourbillon isn’t an easy thing. The calibre A&S8220 of the Arnold and Son UTTE Skeleton had to be redesigned and it is now thicker than before at 3.30mm (vs. 2.97mm), with no effects on the overall thickness of the watch. In order to guarantee sufficient rigidity while maximizing the openwork of the movement, the main-plate and bridges are now stronger and slightly thicker.
Then, this calibre A&S8220 features new skeleton barrels that ensure 90 hours of power reserve (a long power reserve for such a slim movement) and a more constant delivery of torque to the escapement and tourbillon. Finally, if the tourbillon itself remains the same – with its large 14mm diameter – its bridge on top has undergone a revision and shows a opened design, which reveals the ballet of the pallets and escape wheel in action.
As usual with the brand, the movement of the Arnold and Son UTTE Skeleton is very pleasantly finished. All the edges of the bridges and main-plate are bevelled and polished, the wheels are chamfered, the tourbillon cage’s edges are also fully chamfered and polished by hand, the main plate and bridges are made of nickel silver (German Silver) and decorated with Côtes de Genève rayonnantes and screws and jewels are in polished countersinks. Like in the “normal” UTTE, the display is entirely focused on the tourbillon and nothing hides its ballet, as time is indicated in an off-centered sub-dial at 6. As often in skeleton watches, legibility is questionable but easily compensated by the beauty of the mechanics and of the haute-horlogerie finishes.
This Arnold and Son UTTE Skeleton again proves that this manufacture is to be considered as a serious player. Even by opening the movement and revealing all the mechanical parts (something that Arnold & Son is very good at), the UTTE skeleton remains as slim as the non-opened edition and it even gains the title of the thinnest skeleton tourbillon on the market. Again a very beautiful watch, with strong horological content. The Arnold and Son UTTE Skeleton will be a limited edition of 50 pieces, priced at 76,750 USD. For more info on Arnold & Son click here.